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Courtenay and District Museum

207 Fourth Street, Courtenay, British Columbia, V9N, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2009/08/04

Courtenay and District Museum front facade; City of Courtenay, 2009
View from southeast, 2009
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Other Name(s)

Courtenay and District Museum
Former Courtenay Post Office

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1924/01/01 to 1926/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/11/17

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Courtenay and District Museum, originally the Courtenay Post Office, is a large two-storey masonry and brick building located at the corner of Fourth Street and Cliffe Avenue in downtown Courtenay.

Heritage Value

The Courtenay and District Museum is significant for its historical, aesthetic and social values, particularly for its design and materials and its ongoing use as the Courtenay and District Museum.

Begun in 1924 and opened in 1926, the Courtenay and District Museum, formerly the Courtenay Post Office, is valued as a symbol of the federal government’s presence in Courtenay, despite the fact that it took over ten years to become a reality due to disagreement over a potential site and the outbreak of World War I. The federal government presence was also reflected in the other federal functions in the building, initially a telegraph and customs office, and in the 1950s, a Veterans Land Act office, Fisheries office, and unemployment office in the second storey addition.

It was important to the growth and importance of Courtenay’s downtown when the Post Office moved from the McPhee Block on Fifth Street, below the bridge, to this imposing masonry structure.

The building has aesthetic values related to its massing, imposing structure and use of materials, a mix of brick and concrete masonry. The design has elements of both classical and art deco architecture, and the massing, like many government buildings, reflects the importance of its original function. Located on donated land, the building was built of brick from Alberta and Victoria, and used lumber from local sawmills. Despite earthquake damage in 1946 and additions in the 1950s, the building remains a significant landmark in downtown Courtenay.

The building is significant for its appropriate adaptive re-use as the Courtenay and District Museum, which celebrates the natural and cultural heritage of the Comox Valley. The building and its use is valued by the community as a heritage building used to its fullest, a scientific, social and historic gathering place and resource centre for residents and visitors alike.

Source: City of Courtenay Planning Department

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements which define the heritage character of the Courtenay and District Museum include its:

- location at the corner of Fourth Street and Cliffe Avenue in downtown Courtenay
- minimal setback from street
- first floor raised above grade

Architectural Features
- rectangular form and horizontal massing
- masonry construction
- scale of the building, expressing its use as a government building
- tripartite design, with raised base, body and parapet
- decorative entrances, including semi-circular arch and square columns
- symmetrical window openings, one-over-one
- decorative horizontal banding, stepped facades and red and yellow patterned brick detailing in the parapet



British Columbia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (BC)

Recognition Statute

Local Government Act, s.954

Recognition Type

Community Heritage Register

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Governing Canada
Government and Institutions
Building Social and Community Life
Education and Social Well-Being

Function - Category and Type




Post Office

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Courtenay Planning Department

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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